Secret Cinema: The Empire Strikes Back – reaction

Few cinematic worlds are as immersive as Star Wars; as galaxies far, far away go, this one’s highly accessible. Secret Cinema’s presentation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back aims to recreate that sense of immersion on an ambitiously large, interactive scale, with semi-successful results.

The main sticking point is price: with adult tickets at £78, it’s hard to feel there’s enough bang for your buck. No quibbles about the size of the production – the hush-hush London location makes expansive use of a number of rooms, with plenty of iconic sets and props to go round. You can’t turn a corner without bumping into an in-character actor and food and drink options are myriad (if an additional expense).

Sound and lighting effects are decent but the centrepiece presentation of the actual film underwhelms. No one’s expecting La-Z-Boys, but seating could be comfier – and you’re advised to either head for the front row or grow a few inches to get a good view of the screen.

Live elements (typically running alongside key scenes – you can guess which ones) feel less complementary to the action than distractions from it.

If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan there’s undoubtedly fun to be had, but in amping up the ambition some of the ingenuity and intimacy on which Secret Cinema built its name has been lost.

[Photography credit: Paul Cochrane]

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